History, Humour, Heart. Cirque du Soleil TOTEM [Media Preview]

Review: TOTEM Cirque du Soleil

I'm a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil and when they came over during the holiday season in Singapore, I know of no reason to miss it. 

I was too preoccupied as my mom also went here for the holidays so of course, she would be my number 1 priority. We only have one mom right? Just a head's up, this one's a lengthy post so if you're not a theater (or a circus) buff don't say I never warned you シ

Performers tumble, swing up & down, suspended in mid air, straps, trapezes and hoops, gasp-worthy stunts- all inside one tent, happening in one night. Beautiful combination of athleticism and artistry showcased by TOTEM Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil once again delivered a stunning show in the form of TOTEM. Focusing on the evolution of man, the show spoke to the audience with high class entertainment- as expected with every Cirque du Soleil signature spellbinding shows. TOTEM, combines pantomime, acrobatics, music, state-of-the-art costumes while blending talented international circus performers into a gripping circus-arts production. 

The stage crafting, charming costumes, lighting, acrobatic schemes are just crazier than ever. But more than the aesthetics, TOTEM provided a different experience. There were incredible display of balance, strengths and tactics; the stage layout, design and play of lights were all undeniably engaging. Cirque Du Soleil TOTEM performers possess amazing skills, the beauty of their costumes made them more beautiful and mesmerizing to watch. 


Cirque du Soleil describes Totem’s theme as the evolution of humanity from its primordial, amphibian state toward the aspiration of flight, taking inspiration from many of humanity’s founding myths. The show was awarded the 2013 New York Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. TOTEM follows the human species from original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage, evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. TOTEM explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.

Cirque du Soleil used interactive projection technologies to enhance and provide variety to the types of scenes created for Totem, including swamps, starry nights, lakes, volcanoes, and other natural environments. The kinetic images are created with the help of infrared cameras; the projection system can dynamically create projections, making it seem as if they are reacting to the artists’ movements in both real-time and pre-recorded sequences. One of the major elements for the set is the large turtle carapace, which functions as both a decorative piece as well as acrobatic equipment.

Cirque Du Soleil TOTEM colourful set and costume designs work in perfect harmony with the performers flexibility and grace. As always, there is a continuous flow of artistry displayed by TOTEM. This is Cirque Du Soleil, after all. 

I find that every scene has just the right length; be prepared for the nail-biting and jaw-dropping acts- well, the clowns giving their own style of comedic relief is not to be missed one bit. You see, these performers don’t just risk their lives with every act they get involved with, they deliver artful illusions with emotional commitment. Even when they are donning those masks, I can see in their eyes the smallest flicker of thought crossing their faces; their passion to give honest entertainment. The costumes will transport you to a different world; the gracefulness of the music used added to the extra oomph to these amazing feats.  TOTEM is produced with history, humour- and heart.

The Big Top tent was just the perfect size for TOTEM. The concept is simple but the way that TOTEM enforced the acts with crafted precision was on point. Be entertained, be wowed, be impressed that you almost forget to applaud and be left wondering, “Hey, wait- so what exactly did I just see?!” 

The Beginning – beautifully choreographed act; the costumes and choreography are a full show themselves. 

The Russian Bars – circus choreography at its finest. Dynamic jumps, clear, almost flawless lines.  A nerve-wracking act that involves 4 inch thick planks that artists use to jump high in the air while performing flips, only to land perfectly on the bar again. The glow in the dark, out of this world costumes , oh, my! such a total feast for the eyes!

The Unicycles with Bowls – A group of female artists ride 7 foot high unicycles while balancing metal bowls on their heads. The performers place a bowl on their foot, and kick it back to the head. The act consisted of kicking two or even five bowls at once, kicking bowls to people in front or behind them and even kicking a teapot onto one performers head. Watch out for these performers’ unparalleled grace under pressure. 

Fixed Trapeze Duo – A young couple aerialist perform death-defying stunts high up on a trapeze. The act represents both the desire and aggravation couples face. They brought the love accent to this production and deservedly drawing one of the loudest applause from the audience. They’re too cute to handle. 

Cirque du Soleil TOTEM remains as a moving symbol of the evolution of man, the show is a constant reminder that the world does not stop changing – live simply, be responsible.

Thanks for looking

DISCLAIMER: Author was invited to the press/media preview. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are her own and remain 100% uninfluenced

Review: TOTEM Cirque du Soleil







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